Contrary to the fast and luxurious lifestyles of some of our favorite celebrities, the majority of us go through a standard routine that gets us onto the next day. That routine could include classes; work; and even something as simple as brushing your teeth in the morning or talking to your mom at night. The mobile game, Florence (available on iOS and Android), is an accurate representation of that mundaneness but also the magic in that simple life. It artistically represents day-to-day living in a way that introduces such charm and delightfulness to the most basic of events. Such delightfulness also allows you to reflect and appreciate the highs and lows of your own life.
Florence follows the 25-year-old titular character working a full-time job with not much in her life beyond that. One day, as she is on her phone following the liveliness of others through social media, her phone runs out of battery and she’s left to observe the world around her. She catches the lovely sounds of music and the notes guide her to a man playing the cello named Krish. At that moment, she becomes infatuated with him. On a separate day, Florence sees him again while riding her bike, never taking her eyes off of him until she crashes. When she awakens from the crash, she sees Krish is standing above her. The two chat and he gives her his number, leading to their first date. The rest of the game explores her newfound love and happiness as her everyday life transforms thanks to Krish.
The game’s aesthetic prominently features the idea things are on paper. The characters appear as hand drawings and the game progresses with the sounds of pages turning as it pans between panels, much like you would when you read a comic book. There are no substantive words to express dialogue between any of the characters other than meaningless blurbs to simulate Florence’s conversation with her mother on the phone. Instead, the story progresses through a series of interactive prompts that are small, though artistically crafted, to make you a part of the story. For example, on Florence’s first date with Krish, you piece together pieces of a text bubble, which serve as a metaphor for formulating sentences in a conversation. Over time, the number of pieces decreases, indicating comfort. Another example is the experience of going through her social media liking or reposting the posts. These actions make you a part of the story, making even the smallest events like conversation feel personal and significant.
The soundtrack for Florence is very sophisticated. The tones and instruments used reminded me of the sounds from the Professor Layton series with the use of string instruments from an ensemble cast. The instruments are lighthearted, featuring the arrangements from the piano, woodwind instruments, violins and the cello, bringing Krish’s character to life as the game’s cellist. The soundtrack of the game carries the story and sets the mood in each chapter by using each instrument to characterize the peak moments and the darkest times of Florence, alongside the moments that would identify as standard protocol. If you don’t choose to play this game, this soundtrack is worth a listen, but it is always better with context. (Available on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, and Google Play).
Florence’s charm and eloquent storytelling through simplicity and uneventfulness, even after Florence meets Krish, is exactly what makes this game so beautiful. Everything that she has gone through in her story, I can see within my own. Love, work, and play evoke all the same emotions among many of us no matter what form they take. As I played through Florence on my own, I took a look at my life from my childhood to now and found an appreciation for it I didn’t truly realize. The mundane occasions are beautiful in my own life because we all have them. Our routines, our love shared with one another, and our own hobbies, though unique in their own right, are common and yet so special. And that’s just fine.